Counting Loved Ones

Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri Photo by Donna Forgey used with permission.

A Remedy for Insomnia
by Vera Pavlova, number 66 in the hundred poems that make up her collection If There Is Something To Desire

Not sheep coming down the hills,
not cracks on the ceiling—
count the ones you loved,
the former tenants of dreams
who would keep you awake,
once meant the world to you,
rocked you in their arms,
those who loved you . . .
You will fall asleep, by dawn, in tears.


“The only thing I hope for is that, regardless of what the outward world is for different people, different nations, I hope their internal world is similar. And if I, hopefully, have managed to somehow describe my inner world in this book, all I count on is that it will have some resonance among the American readers, or, at the very least, the American readers will treat this book as a kind of a guidebook for my inner world, strange as it may appear.”

~ Vera Pavlova